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Suspect in Murder of Cardiologist Is A Former Law Enforcement Officer, Three Men Arrested in Connection with The Death of Good Samaritan, And More

What we’re following at Houston Public Media today

Top afternoon stories:

Suspect in Murder of Houston Cardiologist is a former law enforcement officer

Joseph James Pappas, 62, gunned down Dr. Mark Hausknecht because of a 20-year-old grudge he carried against the cardiologist. Pappas, was a deputy constable for Harris County Precinct 2 and Precinct 7 back in the 1980s, according to KHOU 11 News. Pappas tried selling a cache of weapons and ammunition online days after the killing.

A neighbor of Pappas describes him as a nice, quiet man who kept to himself and had few close friends.

Jim Herd said he has known Pappas all of his life, having attended the same high school and church as him. He said they would wave at each other in passing, last time coming on Saturday as Herd washed his car in his driveway

Pappas' house is in an older, established neighborhood in southwest Houston. Herd said Pappas had lived in the house since birth and now lived alone since inheriting the home when his father died about 10 years ago.

Three men arrested in connection with the death of good Samaritan

The Harris County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) investigators have now arrested a third suspect in the killing of Moyses Arreguin who saved his neighbor from an armed robbery last week.

Homicide investigators in Harris County arrested two juveniles, ages 15 and 16, and 19-year-old Gilbert Gomez Jr. in connection with Arreguin's death.

Separate ruptures led to Texas pipeline blasts that hurt seven

State authorities say two separate ruptures occurred near where two natural gas pipelines cross in West Texas and led to a series of explosions that injured seven people.

The Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates pipelines in the state, said Thursday that El Paso Natural Gas owns one of the pipelines operated by Kinder Morgan. That line crossed with another operated by Navitas Midstream about 20 miles (30 kilometers) southeast of Midland.

Authorities say firefighters had suppressed flames from the initial rupture and explosion Wednesday when two explosions followed in quick succession, apparently as a result of the second rupture.

At least one firefighter was injured in addition to at least four pipeline employees. The severity of their injuries was not clear.

It’s not clear what caused either rupture.

AAA: Texas, US retail gasoline prices up two cents this week

Texas and nationwide retail gasoline price rose 2 cents per gallon this week.

AAA Texas on Thursday reported the average price at the pump statewide was $2.65 per gallon. Drivers across the U.S. are paying an average $2.87 per gallon.

The association survey found San Antonio has the cheapest gasoline in Texas this week at an average $2.54 per gallon. Midland has the most expensive gasoline statewide this week at an average $3.08 per gallon.

AAA experts say U.S. gasoline demand strengthened and supply declined, with prices in many states increasing since last week.


Top morning stories:

Police name suspected killer of cardiologist

The Houston Police Department has identified the suspect in the murder of Dr. Mark Hausknecht as Joseph James Pappas, 65.

The Houston Police Department believes Joseph James Pappas, 62, gunned down Dr. Mark Hausknecht because of a 20-year-old grudge he carried against the cardiologist. Chief Art Acevedo said Wednesday that Pappas' mother was a patient of Hausknecht's over 20 years ago and died during a surgery he was performing.

Local media is reporting that Pappas is a former deputy constable with Harris County and tried to sell ammo on gun websites days after the murder. Public records show he owned a real estate business in Houston.

Police have not yet located Pappas.


Permit woes at potential Southwest Key facility to hold migrant kids

Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña.

A controversial Houston center to hold unaccompanied migrant children run by Southwest Key may not be opening this week, as some previously thought. Officials with the city of Houston say the facility has not yet secured the proper permits to begin operation.

In a tweet on Tuesday state senator Slyvia Garcia said a lawyer with Southwest Key told her the facility could open this week. A spokesperson for Southwest Key confirmed to Houston Public Media the nonprofit is waiting on state inspections but did not comment on permits from the city of Houston.


Child dies after leaving family detention center

The American Immigration Lawyers Association said Wednesday it learned of the death of a child who had been recently released from a government-run family detention. The group said it was made aware through someone in contact with the family.

In a statement to the Washington Post, the group said it learned a toddler died soon after being released from the Dilley South Texas Family Residential Center. The group said it does not have information on the cause of death or information that connects the death to medical treatment at the center.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told multiple media outlets it's looking into the report, but cannot provide more information without specifics about who this was. The agency said a child did not die at the center.


Plan to lower water levels draws community ire

Starting this week, the San Jacinto River Authority is temporarily lowering the water in Lake Conroe as part of a project to reduce flood risks on the river. That has some residents upset.


New hours for Houston’s public libraries

The Central Library, which is located in downtown Houston at 500 McKinney Street, and the Carnegie Neighborhood Library & Center for Learning are now open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays, they are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Additionally, the Central Library is opening on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.


The 1900 hurricane that devastated Galveston

Houston Public Media’s new podcast “Hurricane Season” explores some of the biggest storms that have impacted the Gulf Coast and its development, policies, and people.

The Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 remains the single deadliest disaster in U.S. history — killing more than the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, the 9/11 attacks, and Hurricane Katrina combined. Galveston took years to rebuild, raising the elevation of its structures and building a 3-mile long seawall.

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or subscribe via RSS.

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